Of Skylight Insulation…..Phase II Subpart a….Okay So there’s a lot of Parts to this!

The Ring cannot be destroyed, Gimili son of Gloin, by any craft that we here possess.

The Ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom. Only there can it be unmade.

It must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.


One of you…..must do this. (Lord Elrond speaking to the Fellowship.)


My sons must do this. They must endure the power of the foam once again. Till it is finished. Only then will they be able to rest in peace. For the power of the foam cannot be undone. It was in this moment when Jude and Terence realized that they still had more foam insulation to install that nearly all hope was lost. Yet hope remains….while company is true.

I wonder how things will turn out this coming week for the tweedle brothers?

Welcome as always and I’m certainly glad you are back again for another installment of the Hobbit Hollow Construction Blog!

Yes people, the winds of change are blowing. The boys finished the second layer of hardibacker board on the roof this past week among other things. They did a great job. I think it really finished off the roof the right way, as well. I’ll definitely sleep better at night when we start backfilling knowing that we have the double layer. Those little voles and moles are really  going to have to dig if they want to get to that styrofoam layer.

As usual I show up at the house Saturday morning and find remants of Jude and Terence’ wit and humor. This shot being one of them.

Spray foam smilely face.
Spray foam smilely face.

They took a half hour paycut because of this. Hey, spray foam doesn’t grow on trees people!

So as I was saying, they did get  a lot done this week. I had a 30 yard container dropped off so we could start cleaning up the site. I also talked to Steve at Landworks Excavation. He’s going to stop by this week and come up with a price for backfilling. That should be interesting. Gotta hope for a good price people…..there’s a lot  of site work to do.

The boys did a bunch of framing, as well. I think I’ll take a couple of pictures when they’re all done. Maybe do a post on just that. We’ll see.

So like I said in the title the main gist of this weekend was to show Terence how to insulate the skylights. It’s a multi step process. We didn’t complete one for a variety of reasons but I’ll show you what we did.

Step one is to air seal the plywood box on top of the skylight. As I said last time this is the most critical part of a Passive House. If the shell of the house isn’t air sealed it will allow cold or hot outside air into the house which will have to be heated or cooled. Regardless of the quantity of insulation you have installed. Air sealing is also critical for the wall assembly. If moist air is allowed to get into the wall asembly it can wreak havoc on the wood frame and sheathing. Very important this is.

I showed him how to air seal the skylight which was in last weeks post. The next step is to attach a 2×6 header around the top of the frame. Here’s Terence at work.

Terence installing a 2x6 header on top.
Terence installing a 2×6 header on top.

So this header is ultimately going to be the nailing plate for our skylight. The skylight has brackets which are side mounted to the skylight and then screwed to this header. Terence is just using the clamps to hold the 2×6 in place while he is screwing this in.

The next step is to insulate the skylight. What we did was cut the styrofoam to fit under that 2×6 header and trim it nice to fit to the side walls. Once we had this done we took a piece of banding wire and banded it in place. We might just use silver duct tape though that worked just as well. Check it out:

skylight insulation part I
skylight insulation part I

So that’s 8 inches of styrofoam around that opening. The next thing we did was wrap the lower portion with styro and secured that, too.

4 inches around the lower half.
4 inches around the lower half.

So as you can see here we used a combination of banding wire and duct tape to hold everything in place. Since the roof is curved I figured we would use the spray foam underneath to fill any voids. This way we will have a continuous layer of insulation. The problem with the spray foam is that you have to wait for it to dry before you can trim it. So we basically stopped there and called it a day. Something else came up that I had to take care of at home.

So what happens next. So the next step is to trim the styro and put another four inches around the base. Once this is done we go with two layers of hardibacker and them install a form for our concrete skylight roof! Ah, if it were only so simple.

So the wagering has officially begun. My prediction is I should be finished by this time ywo years from now. The family likes to double my estimate and then proceed to mock me. Hmmmm. Hey, someone had to take the Ring to Mordor and someone has to build a real Hobbit House. Nobody said it would be quick and easy.

The adventure continues!

Have a great week and we’ll see you in a few!


4 thoughts on “Of Skylight Insulation…..Phase II Subpart a….Okay So there’s a lot of Parts to this!”

  1. Jim,
    I flew up that afternoon for some dinner event and flew back the next morning. That picture is a collector’s item because the brothers are rarely together in 1 room, especially with me down South. And, all I remember dropping is my keys in your driveway in front of your dad after a few soda pops!
    I read every week and enjoy the laughs. What is especially funny…. I ‘hear’ your voice while reading and laugh out loud. Tell your mom I said hello!

  2. I’m with you Jimmy, two years. I cashed out my pension and called my bookie! If I lose, I’ll be part of the concrete skylight roof soon enough! I’m counting on you Jim, really counting on you. You never dropped the baton no matter how many bad handoffs Al gave you in the 2 mile relay. I gotta hit it big Jim, this 2 year bet is my lottery ticket!

    • Oh boy Mike you’re really putting a lot of pressure on me now. Ahhhh. I would hold off putting the pension fund on the line.

      Oh yeah my mother showed me the paper the other day with your father in the news. I hear they’re changing the name of Level Street to “Driscoll Way”. Pretty cool. You guys all looked great.

      I might not have ever dropped the baton during the two mile relay but if I told you about some of the other things I’ve dropped you might be rethinking what you just said.

      Thanks for ckecking in every once and a while!



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